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Londoners Diogia join UAE artists in attempt to bridge 'the gap'

Bridging the Gap is a week-long exercise in artistic communication between two cultures and countries.

Bridging the Gap is a six-day link-up between artists from London and the UAE, taking place in L'Atelier des Arts, an arts and education centre that opened last year in the Fotouh Al Khair Mall in Abu Dhabi. The show features the work of the Emirati artists Zeinab Al Hashemi and Khawla Al Marri alongside the London collective Diogia.

These three UK-based artists create pieces that lean towards an illustrative, comic-book style. The organiser, Anais Abram, says she set them a brief to create work that responded specifically to the UAE. "They have never been to the UAE before, so when they were creating these works they relied entirely on research and what they could find out about the country through the media," says Abram.

From what we've seen so far, the result is as might be imagined: coffee pots, veiled women and the kind of visual imagery that one would find through nipping on to Google Image and typing in "UAE".

But Abram says that this is only the initial stages of the exhibition, and that the workshop series that will follow over the next few days will reveal how this collaboration finds its feet.

Saturday - the first day of the show - sees Diogia explore their own style of working with students from local schools in L'Atelier des Arts, focusing on caricature and animation (11am-8pm), while on Wednesday (12pm-9pm), all five artists will be working on installation pieces for the event's sponsor, Masdar, using recyclable materials.

To round off the week, next Thursday (11am-9pm), the group will work on individual pieces in the gallery space to show visually what the UAE means to them and the impression it has made on the visiting artists.

Bridging the Gap runs from February 18-24.


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